The United Kingdom has produced its fair share of top MMA fighters, but the next star may have emerged from BAMMA 6. Tom ‘Kong’ Watson destroyed former Pride fighter Murilo “Ninja” Rua on Saturday night in England to successfully defend his middleweight title.
Already known as a dangerous striker, Watson has evolved his game over the past few years working with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in New Mexico, but he continues to prove that standing with him usually ends up being a bad idea.
From the start of the fight, Watson established his dominance, slamming Rua with leg kicks and then following that up with hooks to the head, and the occasional head kick. As the time clicked away, Rua became less and less mobile as his left leg started to swell as a result of Watson’s onslaught.
Watson never lost control and opened up with a wild array of strikes. Instead the Brit kept to his game plan and methodically picked apart the Brazilian, dismantling him from head to toe until the final strike that put him away.
As the third round progressed, Watson saw an opening to deliver one of his signature head kicks. It landed squarely on Rua’s head and ear, leaving the Brazilian in obvious trouble. As Rua wobbled towards the cage, Watson followed up with a blistering right hook that dropped him in a mass on the canvas.
Watson celebrated the win while defending his BAMMA middleweight title, but not without losing sight of how dangerous an opponent Rua was in the process.
“You can’t just do that with a fighter like Ninja,” Watson stated about building confidence as the fight wore on. “He’s dangerous at all times, it’s just disrespectful to think that.”
Watson may have established himself as one of the top up-and-coming strikers in the sport with his clinical performance to put away Rua. Now he will await his next challenge from BAMMA, and that may include a showdown with another winner on the night’s card.
“Every fight someone wants to call me out. If (Frank) Trigg wants to do it, I think he should go back to welterweight, but bring him on,” Watson stated after the win.
Speaking of Frank Trigg, he made the most of his first ever fight in England, and ended John Phillips’ night in dominant fashion to win at BAMMA 6 on Saturday.
Prior to the fight, Trigg admitted that returning to welterweight when he got a comeback fight in the UFC was a big mistake, and once he started to go back up to 185 pounds he felt much better. He showed that off with a quick win in England.
Within seconds of the opening bell, Trigg snatched a takedown, putting the former boxer Phillips on his back and in deep water immediately.
Before the fight started, Phillips actually waived off the ringside physician who was attempting to apply Vaseline to his face. The pre-fight ritual is done to prevent easy cuts from occurring during the bout, and that particular decision backfired on Phillips big time.
Once on the ground, Trigg opened up his offense, which consisted of nasty, short elbows from inside Phillips’ guard. Within moments, a cut opened up on Welshman’s head and he was wiping blood away from his eyes. A couple of elbows later more cuts were opened and soon enough Phillips’ looked like he was the victim in a horror movie.
The referee paused the action and after a few looks from the ringside physician, the fight was stopped due to cuts, Frank Trigg being declared the winner. After a couple of losses in the UFC, some questioned if Trigg was going to keep pushing on in the fight game.
Now with two wins in a row, it looks like those questions have been answered.
“I wouldn’t call it a big comeback. I’ve been a pro for 14 years, kind of been doing this for a little while,” Trigg said. “I wouldn’t say a big comeback, but it’s definitely a comeback.”
It had been nearly three years since Ivan Salaverry had competed in MMA, but his return ended in a lackluster fight as he lost a decision to British fighter Matt Ewin.
Ewin had a three-year layoff as well, but got the chance to have a warm-up fight in April, and maybe that was all the difference. He showed better stand-up and even grappling in the limited moments the fight with Salaverry hit the ground.
It looked like the time off was tough on Salaverry, who was extremely stiff in his striking, standing straight and firing off leg kicks as his primary offense. Ewin however was headhunting throughout the fight, and while he wasn’t overly aggressive the shots he landed did much more damage.
Salaverry may have been dealing with a broken nose during the fight, and in the third round he finally found himself on the ground, but that’s because Ewin scooped him up for the takedown. The fight ended with boos coming from the British crowd after a fairly uninspired three-round bout.
“A bit,” Salaverry answered when asked if he was rusty in his first fight back. “I definitely wanted to put it out there, so if you can pick me up, all good.”
Ewin wasn’t overly excited about his performance either, but at least he walked away with a victory.
“I could have done a lot more,” Ewin admitted after the win. “Holding back too much. Against somebody of that caliber you don’t want to make too many mistakes, but I should have pushed a bit more really.”
BAMMA 6 MAIN CARD RESULTS:
-Tom “Kong” Watson def. Murilo “Ninja” Rua by KO at 2:06, R3
-Frank Trigg def. John Phillips by TKO (doctor’s stoppage due to cut) at 2:41, R1
-Matt Ewin def. Ivan Salaverry by unanimous decision (no scores read)
-Valentino Petruscu def. Joao Paulo De Souza by majority decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-29)
-Leo Santos def. Jason Ball by unanimous decision
-Che Milles def. Marcio Cesar by TKO at 3:58, R1
-Scott Jensen def. Craig Chesters by TKO 0:50, R2
-Catalin Zmarandescu def. Sharif Mohammed Ali by submission (choke) 0:32, R1
-Shane Omer def. Aaron Wilkinson by KO at 1:32, R1
-Sam Watling def. Leigh Cohoon by unanimous decision
-Costas Doru drew with Jeremy Petley
-Lee Taylor def. Kenny Moytson by TKO at 3:02, R2
-Ryan White def. Fraser Opie by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:39, R1
-Murrey Fullerton def. Charles Scott by submission (armbar) at 2:25, R1